With autumn on the doorstep, the Maxxis British Motocross Championship decamps to the venerated Farleigh Castle track in Somerset for its nail-biting season finale. With glorious sunshine in verdant greenery, the setting is perfect for the final showdown. HM Plant KTM UK is unfortunately down one rider as Ben Watson has sustained a fractured collarbone during practice earlier in the week and thus won’t be able to defend his championship position.
For MX2 class leader Elliott Banks-Browne, the qualifying session on Sunday morning gets off to a good start. Setting a comfortable pole position, he will end second in super-pole, while team-mates Nathan Watson and Steven Clarke end the super-pole session just behind in fourth and fifth respectively.
The championship points are such that if Elliott finishes in the points in the first two races, he will take home the title for a second time. And thus it transpires too. After Steven takes the lead after lap one, Elliott pushes hard to retake it halfway in, going across the finish line with elation. Although he doesn’t have the best of starts and does not go across the line first in races two and three, he still takes the day overall win by one point. He also collects that coveted title for the second time after race two, team and family celebrating with him on the finish line.
For Steven, things don’t go as planned at all. After his hard battle with Elliott in the first race, he ends fifth. The second race looks to be a shoe-in, but fate intervenes and with only corners to go, he goes down and damages the bike. He makes a long walk back to the paddock. The final race ends before it really begins as a broken rear wheel in the second lap puts paid to his ambition to improve on race two. He ends the day fifteenth, but finishes the championship in the top ten.
Nathan’s day also doesn’t improve in the way he expected. After a good first race start, he finds himself going backwards in the early laps, much to his frustration. Once settled in though, he holds his position until the end where a silly mistake costs him one more place. The second race again shows his capabilities; after being caught in a pile-up at the start, he works his way back to sixteenth, not quite where he expected to be. In the final race of the day, he settles for eleventh after crashing again and restarting last. He also ends the day outside the top ten, in twelfth, losing out on a top five in the championship by five points.
Elliott Banks-Browne MX2 #1
“Today was alright! In the last race I was hoping to pass Martin on the last lap, I passed Nev and felt faster than the boys in the front, but unfortunately I left it a bit too late. But I’ve won the overall and the championship, so I’m happy, I’m pumped.”
Nathan Watson MX2 #991
“Today’s been the worst weekend of the season by far. I qualified alright, in fourth. In the first race I had a decent start, was running eighth or ninth, was just losing a lot of grip on the first couple of laps, the bike wasn’t driving well because we only got it done yesterday afternoon. I then dropped it on the last lap and lost a couple of positions, ended up twelfth which I was very disappointed with. In the second race I got a great start, was second into the first turn, but because the brake discs and pads had not bedded in yet, I went flying into somebody and ended up in a big pileup. I ended up sixteenth from dead last, which was crap. In the last one the bike wouldn’t start in the parc ferme, we rushed around, I forgot to put my race goggles on, so I went out there with no tear-offs. Had a bad start because I lost my gate to someone else, then stalled it, dropped it, was dead last and couldn’t get the bike started, but I managed to get through to eleventh. I was happy with my riding in the last race, but it’s just been a shocking day.”
Steven Clarke MX2 #511
“First race was good, second off the start, passed Elliott pretty quick on the first lap, led the majority of the race, made a few little mistakes and Elliott passed me and I settled for second. Then I crashed over the back in the mud, got back up and finished fifth. Then I DNFed the second race after crashing and catching all the way up to Mackenzie’s rear wheel, battling for the lead. I crashed in the woods and then crashed a second time, made a mess of my bike. The mechanics stripped it apart, put new bars and everything on for the last race, I went out and on the first or second lap the rear wheel bearings blew out and that sums up the day really.”
Roger Magee: HM Plant KTM UK Team Manager
“It’s not been a good day for HM Plant KTM UK. It’s always nice to win the British championship back-to-back with the same rider; it shows that we’ve put the effort in and Elliott has had his just rewards today. He went out and won the first moto, showed them who’s boss, and then rode with his head to bring the championship home in the second moto. The third race was really good, battling with other riders like Mackenzie. Unfortunately the British championship races are just too short, and hopefully the powers that be will bring them up to thirty minutes next year. We look forward to announcing team plans in the next few weeks and it’s all systems go.”